Several areas of focus for the EU Green Deal are likely to pose significant challenges for New Zealand’s export sectors, not only directly in the context of the New Zealand-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) but also due to the potential for the EU’s practices and regulations to become de facto global standards for sustainable trade.
In several instances described in this report, the regulatory regime in New Zealand (both current and proposed) appears to lag behind the equivalent systems emerging in the EU. Failure to increase the levels of environmental and social ambition inherent in the policies currently under development in New Zealand might result in significant reductions in the levels of market access available to New Zealand exporters, not only in the EU but also in other major markets such as China, the USA and the UK, as these countries are compelled to increase their own ambition levels in these areas, to protect the interests of their domestic producers.
Organic agriculture is seen by the EU as central to increasing sustainable agriculture. The EU Farm to Fork Strategy includes a target of at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land being under organic farming by 2030. Certified organic products from New Zealand are likely to benefit from improved market access into the EU, which increases both the importance of the process of developing a National Organic Standard for New Zealand, along with accompanying regulations, and the level of urgency attached to this process. New Zealand is expected to develop a “robust domestic system for organics” by the end of 2024.
Importantly, the EU’s definition of a “robust domestic system for organics” does not include any determinations or requirements related to the inclusion (or lack thereof) of Indigenous values or knowledge systems. This paper discusses the role that Indigenous Māori knowledge systems, including those related to organic production, do and should play in the NZ-EU FTA. There appears to be a significant risk of the Hua Parakore Māori organic verification system, developed by Te Waka Kai Ora to assist Māori organic growers, being wholly excluded from the National Organic Standard. Such an outcome is likely to contradict both the letter and spirit of the NZ-EU FTA.
The final aspect of the paper focuses on the organic market in the EU and the opportunities that might exist for certified organic products from New Zealand. Based on the outcomes of this modelling, it would appear that for certain wine and dairy products there are potential opportunities for New Zealand organic producers that equal, or in some cases exceed, the total value of current New Zealand exports to the EU, both conventional and organic.